Invasive Translations: Violence and Political Mediation of the False-Colonial; France and Ottoman Egypt (1780-1840)
Based on her dissertation, Gürsel’s book project, “Invasive Translations: Violence and Mediation of the False-Colonial, France and Ottoman Egypt (1780-1840)” explores the homologies between conceptions of political translatability in the seemingly disparate contexts of late-eighteenth century France and Ottoman Egypt. The project investigates the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt (1798-1801), the institutionalization of French Orientalism and Egyptology, and the incipient Ottoman Egyptian modernization/translation reforms, as “false-colonial” sites. Its central concern is the political conceptualizations of the role of the translator at a moment of transformation, from that of a privileged figure of political mediation to one of subservient expertise during military invasion and expansion. In her work, Burcu seeks to capture the unique ways in which multilingual literary, theoretical, or historical texts, and variously intersecting historical events and cultural contexts each bring the other(s) into relief.